Focus turns to schools in bid to tackle Brixton and Putney’s air pollution hotspots

Boroughs across south west London are doing their bit to reduce pollution, with two of the UK’s biggest hotspots in Brixton and Putney.

Air Quality Champions and members of the charity Sustrans have been raising awareness of pollution, particularly in and around schools.

Judith Chegwidden, an air quality champion for Wandsworth, warned that one of the main causes of pollution is parents leaving cars running while picking up and dropping off their children.

She said: “We have been encouraging parents to take a pledge that they will switch off their cars when they are at the school gates, or choose to walk or cycle instead.

“We understand that not all parents can walk their children to school, but switching off their engines can still make a huge difference.”

Brixton High Road and Putney High Street are considered the pollution ‘hotspots’ of south west London, with both exceeding the pollution target for the entire year within the first week of 2017.

St Thomas’ Hospital in Lambeth is just one of many close to roads with high levels of pollution.

Ms Chegwidden added that wood burning stoves are another cause of pollution that not many would consider.

She added: “I own a wood burner and, while they are a pollution problem, if you use them properly and burn the correct materials they are not too bad.”

Environmental charity Sustrans have also been visiting schools to encourage pupils to do their bit in reducing pollution.

Holly Coupland, Sustrans air quality officer, said: “We have set up projects in schools all around the borough, teaching children how to measure pollution levels.

“We have also been encouraging pupils to change one journey a week to walk or cycle to school, not only to reduce pollution but because of its huge health benefits.”

Schools in Lambeth has also been doing their bit to reduce pollution, with St Helen’s Primary School in Brixton erecting an ivy ‘Green Screen’ at the school playground.

Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite, Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment, said: “Air pollution is a hidden killer in London, and Brixton Road is one of the worst affected roads in the capital.

“St Helen’s is right next to the road and it’s vital that we do all we can to protect these school children from the toxins in the air. This Green Screen is pioneering.”


Related Articles